The hubbub last week over President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of Boeing and the cost of Air Force One overshadowed a potentially thornier issue for a leader who has pledged to keep jobs in America: Boeing wants to build F/A-18 fighter jets in India.
St. Louis is now the only place where F/A-18 Super Hornets are assembled, although parts come from around the country. The Super Hornet and its electronic warfare variant, the EA-18G Growler, employ thousands of St. Louis area residents at Boeing and its contractors.
While an Indian plant would at first make planes for India, it might eventually make them for other nations, too, raising questions about jobs in St. Louis over the long term.
India wants roughly 200 fighters to update its air force. Super Hornets sold to the U.S. Navy carry a price tag of about $70 million each.
Talks are in early stages, and India hasn’t yet issued a formal call for bids. An Indian assembly plant is unlikely to be up and running until well into the next decade.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch